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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

May 2, 2014

ASIA:

SKOREA-SHIP SINKS

SEOUL, South Korea — Soon after the ferry began to tilt, there was nervous laughter, jokes about the Titanic and talk of selfies and Facebook posts from the doomed high school students huddled below deck. But the lighthearted atmosphere soon turned serious as the listing worsened. Fear began building, and one student asked, “Am I really going to die?” By Foster Klug and Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 880 words, photos, video, audio.

TOP VIDEO — DV SKorean Video — Raw footage of teens’ final moments on sinking South Korean ferry.

CHINA-XINJIANG BLAST

URUMQI, China — Chinese authorities say that two religious extremists carried out a terror attack at a train station in far-western Xinjiang region by detonating explosives, in an apparent suicide bombing that also killed one other person and wounded 79. By Gillian Wong. SENT: 970 words, photos.

CHINA-TERRORIST THREAT

BEIJING — Recent deadly attacks in China blamed on Islamic extremists are getting bolder and bloodier, targeting civilians rather than the authorities and further challenging Beijing’s ability to stop them. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 920 words, photos.

PHILIPPINES-CYBER EXTORTION

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine police, backed by Interpol, have arrested dozens of suspected members of an online extortion syndicate who duped hundreds of victims worldwide into exposing themselves in front of webcams, including a Scottish teenager who committed suicide after being blackmailed, officials say. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 445 words.

INDIA-NORTHEAST VIOLENCE

GAUHATI, India — At least 10 people have been killed and four others wounded as militants armed with automatic weapons opened fire in India’s remote northeast, police say. By Wasbir Hussain. SENT: 280 words.

NEPAL-TREKKING WOMEN

POKHARA, Nepal — When Lucky, Dicky and Nicky Chettri tried to break into Nepal’s male-dominated trekking industry 20 years ago, competitors tried to run them out of business. Men threatened them, harassed them — even filed bogus police reports against them. Now, two decades later, the sisters have a booming business and a waiting list of young Nepalese women who want to join their 6-month training program for mountain guides. The rise of the Chettri sisters’ business in many ways reflects the increasing clout of women in Nepal, a deeply patriarchal country. By Binaj Gurubacharaya. UPCOMING: 800 words by 0900 GMT, photos.

MYANMAR-SUFFERING WITHOUT CARE

SITTWE, Myanmar — When the kicking stopped, Zura Begum suspected something was wrong with the twins she was supposed to deliver in about a month. When the pain started shooting through her body, all doubt was erased. Many pregnant Rohingya women confined to camps in Myanmar are suffering because health care has become hard to get since aid groups were forced to leave early this year. By Esther Htusan. UPCOMING: 1,300 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

WORLD MARKETS

TOKYO — Asia is quiet in early Friday trading, ahead of a release later in the global day of key U.S. jobs data, with the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange standing almost unchanged in the morning session. SENT: 335 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

OBAMA-GERMANY

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are coming together to mount a show of trans-Atlantic unity against an assertive Russia, even as sanctions imposed by Western allies seem to be doing little to change Vladimir Putin’s reasoning. By Josh Lederman. SENT: 650 words, photo. UPCOMING: Updates from joint news conference at 1545 GMT, then 1,000 words by 1830 GMT, photos.

— NATO-RUSSIA — The U.S. and some of its NATO allies see Russia’s intervention in Ukraine as a post-Cold War turning point, possibly ending two decades of hope that Moscow could be made a lasting security partner. SENT: 930 words. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 1800 GMT, to update with Hagel speech scheduled to begin at 1400 GMT., photos.

OKLAHOMA EXECUTION

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma prison officials tried for 51 minutes to find a suitable vein in a death row inmate’s arms, legs and feet before inserting an IV through the man’s groin ahead of a botched execution, the state’s prisons chief says in a report urging for more oversight of lethal injections. The IV was then covered with a sheet and went unnoticed when it became dislodged and the drugs leaked out or were absorbed into Clayton Lockett’s body, the report says. By Sean Murphy. SENT: 830 words, photos.

OKLAHOMA EXECUTION-TIMELINE — Timeline of Oklahoma death row inmate’s last day, botched execution. SENT: 870 words, photo.

HIGHER EDUCATION-SEXUAL ASSAULT

WASHINGTON — From large public universities and the Ivy League to smaller colleges, 55 schools across America are under federal investigation for the way they handled sexual abuse allegations by their students. The Education Department releases the list — but not details of the complaints — as it seeks to bring more transparency to the problem. By Education Writer Kimberly Hefling. Sent: 990 words, photos.

MOROCCO CRIME

CASABLANCA, Morocco — Casablanca has always had a seedy underbelly — but now a spike in violent crime has ignited a public outcry, a debate in parliament and an order from Morocco’s king himself to crush this “menace.” In the past few months, there’s been a rise in muggings by muscular men with elaborate haircuts wielding huge cleavers on souped-up motorbikes. A recent police crackdown on them has boosted the popularity of police but raised new questions about police tactics. By Smail Bellaoualli and Paul Schemm. SENT: 670 words.

CANADA-TORONTO MAYOR

TORONTO — His hopes of winning another term in tatters, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford sneaks out of his city to seek treatment for substance abuse a day after a second video emerged that appears to show him puffing from a crack pipe. By Rob Gillies. SENT: 1,290 words, photos, video.

EGYPT-ENERGY

CAIRO — Rolling blackouts have already been hitting neighborhoods of Cairo daily throughout the winter, when electricity usage is lower. Now summer’s heat is coming, and Egypt’s crippling energy crisis is threatening to mount, creating an immediate political liability for the new president to be elected this month. The government is scrambling to reduce the impact, but there are few near-term solutions. By Maggie Hyde. SENT: 800 words, photos.

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